Jeffrey Smart painting a sought after auction item

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 21st November, 2014

Jeffrey Smart’s The Breakwater, Fiumicino 1986-87 is a major highlight of Bonham’s Important Australian Art auction from 6.30pm Monday November 24 at Byron Kennedy Hall, Moore Park in Sydney.

Estimated at $600,000 to $800,000, this painting is a hallmark landscape for the artist, painted some 20 years after he first arrived in Naples and became fascinated with the Italian urban environment.

The surrealist quality of the painting is exaggerated by imposing concrete shapes – the modern world’s alternative to using natural rocks and stones in breakwater construction.

Of great interest to colonial art collectors will be Tom Roberts’ On the Beach, Port Macquarie 1896.

The painting, which had been considered lost, is one of several he painted while spending the summer with two fellow artists on a yachting trip along the Hastings River in northern New South Wales.

The 1890s was formative period for Roberts and the Hastings River trip was one of many such journeys he undertook in order to create works that defined the Australian way of life.

Another significant painting in the auction is Brett Whiteley’s The Eagle Glides Descending 1982 – typical of the artist’s sensuous, anthropomorphic landscapes with roads and rivers twisting through undulating hills.

Other items of interest include a large and early Queensland rainforest shield (comparable to one in the National Gallery of Australia) from a private United Kingdom collection.

Queenie McKenzie’s Winnaba Springs 1996 is a good example of the Aboriginal art on offer at the auction.

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